Brentford Library to Close?

8 out of 11 libraries could face the axe

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Concerns are being raised about the future of Brentford Library after it was named as one of eight in the borough which may be closed as part of Council cut backs.

The council is seeking to make library savings of £870,000 and are therefore considering the closure of 8 local branches: Beavers, Bedfont, Brentford, Cranford, Hanworth, Heston, Isleworth and Osterley leaving 4 branches: Hounslow, Chiswick, Hanworth and Feltham. There would appear to be no suggestion of reducing days for libraries rather than closing them as happened last time severe library cuts were implemented.

Over the last two years Heston, Osterley, Hanworth and Isleworth have been refurbished although Isleworth has not yet reopened. £1 million has been saved in 'efficiency' changes.

Hounslow Council is the only council in the country to have put local libraries into private sector management.

Regular users of Brentford Library say they have noticed a steady decrease in the quantity of books in the last 2 years since Laing took over, despite promises that new books will be filling up the shelves. Last year a charge of 75p was introduced for reserving books thus taking away much of the benefit of having an online catalogue and being able to reserve books from the comfort of your own home.

There was a survey available during October (although several regular users say they never saw it to complete). 80% of users said they visited a particular library due to its location close to home or work, with over 80% taking under 20 minutes to travel there. The interpretation of the survey suggests that people's indicated willingness to travel an extra 10 minutes gives justification to local closures. Brentford library tops the survey for overall satisfaction, with Hounslow at the bottom.

It is suggested that closures could be offset by:

  • improving the opening hours at remaining libraries.
  • maintaining the fund levels for stock so that there remains a good choice of items.
  • improving the internet speed on the Peoples Network computers.
  • increasing adult education and educational learning facilities.
  • providing local pick up points for reserved stock items in areas where library closures have occurred.

There is no formal questionnaire to fill in but view can be emailed to or handed in at libraries. The deadline for consultation is Friday 28 January and further details can be read at the Council website

A map of threatened libraries nationwide can be seen at False Economy with over 200 facing closure.

January 14, 2011

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